Language As Punishment

My 6 year-old daughter grew up watching BabyTV. I was still pregnant when my husband introduced the channel to me. When she was born, I’ll switch the channel to BabyTV, and it’ll pacify her (a little). At two months old, every time she hears Toystory, her fuss will be lessened. Then she was introduced to Disney Jr. At 3, she fell inlove with High 5 9we even watched a concert in Meralco Theater). Her lolos and lolas would talk to her in English. Her Tita Eva, though most often talk to her in Filipino, also talks to her in English. It was really cute, having an English speaking daughter.


When she started schooling, we realized that having a cute English speaking daughter is not enough. We’ve been told countless of times by her then school directress, Dr. Lilia Cortez that we can not fail in the Filipino subject because she’ll have it until college. Last April, it was rubbed into our face, during our interview in St. Paul College – Pasig. Read here.


Now that she’s in Grade 1, she has 3, yes 3 subjects being taught in the native language – Filipino, Araling Panlipunan and Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao. ESP teaches disiplina, pagkakawang – gawa, pagtitimpi, kakayahang pansarili and the likes. I seriously am having a hard time helping her in ESP. I can not explain what disiplina, in a way that she would understand.


One time, we were studying pagtitimpi. I told her that it is the ability to control one’s feeling, esp getting mad. She answered with, “Mommy, hindi ko pa din po ma-understand.” I was talking while gritting my teeth, when my husband said, “Yan, yan anak, yan ang pagtitimpi, yang ginagawa ni mommy.” Lalo ng na-confuse ang bagets.


One day, I’ve got the chance to talk to Kaylin, one of our Training Officers. I really, really like her. Yung aura, yung confidence, yung itsura, the way she talks, parang politiko, parang endorser, very convincing. Napagkwentuhan namin si Enzo and our struggle in the Filipino language.


Here are my learnings:


  • One must think in Filipino, to speak in Filipino, to understand Filipino. Direct translation doesn’t help. Anyway, not all Filipino words have direct translation. e.g., Instead of saying that DISCIPLINE is DISIPLINA in Filipino, say, DISIPLINA = ang disiplina ay isang kaaya-ayang pag-uugali kung saan ang isang tao ay nalalaman ang tama sa mali.



  • Even adults learn things by examples, so ganun din sa kids. Here: DISIPLINA: Ang taong may disiplina, hindi tatawid kung wala naman sa tamang tawiran, o pedestrian crossing (ooops, English!)


  • I am very guilty of this. When you tell a child, “Magmula ngayon, Filipino na ang gagamitin nating lenggwahe sa bahay.” That already is a punishment. The line MAGMULA NGAYON is an ultimatum. Why not tell your kids, “Ang saya mag-aral ng Filipino, no? Gawin din natin!”


There. I hope you guys learned from this, also.

So, Kaylin, till our next chikahan!




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